Ginny Bean, mother of three and publisher of Ginny's catalog,
suggests families take advantage of this clean slate by establishing
some new organizing routines.
Think ahead. Mornings are chaotic in most households with
school-aged children. Consider handling as many daytime preparations
as possible the night before. Lay out clothes. Pack lunches. Set out
the breakfast dishes and cereal. Pack backpacks.
Bean suggests making systems kid-friendly, so young helpers can feel
involved, and save mom some time in the process. "Carve out a spot
on a lower shelf of the pantry for lunch boxes and lunch-making
supplies. Then make children responsible for putting away their
empty lunch boxes at the end of the school day, or even packing
their own lunch."
Tackle school paperwork. Make a habit of sorting through children's
backpacks with them the same day they come home. Allot time after
school, when you arrive home from work, or after dinner, depending
on your family's schedule. Use a tiered letter sorter or filing
system with designated slots for each child's papers, and an
"A.S.A.P." space for teachers' notes, permission slips and anything
else that requires immediate attention.
For schoolwork and artwork you want to keep, try a two-step
approach. First, purge unwanted items as soon as they come in the
door. Collect the possible keepers in a storage bin or wheeled cart
with color-coded drawers that allow for easy separation by child or
project type. Go through stored items at regular intervals, perhaps
once a month or once a quarter. Keep in mind, the more you
accumulate, the easier it will be to pare down, as the best pieces
will stand out from the crowd.
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Designate a homework spot. Decide on the best spot in your home
to set up homework central. Take into consideration how involved you
need to be with homework and your child's style. Does he focus
better with people around or in a private setting? Is he better
suited to sit at a desk or curled up in a favorite chair with a
Once you have a place picked out, gather together handy homework
tools and supplies into a nearby bin, drawer or cabinet. Stock up on
age-appropriate supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, paper,
crayons, markers, a ruler, dictionary, calculator and a pencil
Create a communication hub. Include the family calendar, a chalk or
bulletin board for posting messages and reminders, a binder for key
documents, colored markers, pens and pencils. If you're a visual
person, consider color coding your calendar by assigning each family
member a different color.
Remember not to forget. Use wall hooks and baskets or bins near the
front door to corral the items you need to remember each day:
backpacks, books, lunches, gym shoes, sports equipment and musical
To request a copy of Ginny's catalog, visit Ginnys.com or call